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Discussion Starter #1
Hello!

My girlfriend and I just purchased an all black female rat from Petco after out friends had just bought a lovely white rat from there named Sugar. As Sugar is very friendly and was social right from the get go with them, and us, we decided to buy a friend for her.

Anyway, we bought everything we needed and brought our rat, Ruth Fisher (6 Feet Under?), home and put her in her new home (aquarium style). When I went out for a meeting my girlfriend put Ruth out on our bed to walk around and explore. She seemed to enjoy exploring the bed but she ended up biting my girlfriend twice (one time drawing blood) and she pooped many times (I assume this is all from being nervous?). When I came home Ruth climbed on me a bit but anytime I tried to put my hand near her she would either make a cute squeek and run away or bite me, which only happened once.

Now I assume this is all because she is in a new environment and has yet to adjust but I just wanted to ask you all anyway...

My second question is that my girlfriend and I are leaving for a few days to play a show. We're leaving Friday and will return Sunday. What should I do for Ruth if anything? I know leaving food and clean water and the such but I'm more concerned about her getting scared or lonely? Should I have our friends watch her?

My last (thankfully!) question is I want to use the Forced Socialization Method on Ruth next week. Does anyone have any tips on this? Right now Ruth has made a little bed in a cardboard house we gave her and I have read that the rat should have no place to hide when I get her out of her cage for this. Should I just remove the house and put it back when our session is over or do something else?



Thanks for any answers!
 

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I've had a couple shy rats, and one method that has worked for me has been called on this forum something like "Bringer of Yummy Things". I offered the shy rat a treat (preferrably lickable from my finger like yoghurt, peanut butter or cottage cheese) first thing--kind of like breakfast in bed. Then I'd hold her for a few minutes on my lap, after which she'd dart away.

In only a few days, this has given me amazing results, turning a very shy in a loving, sociable rat.
 

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I hope that will work! My girlfriend and I are more worried about the biting than anything else...she drew some serious blood on my girlfriend and now she's a bit nervous about trying to pet her. I hear gloves are a good idea?

Also when is it best to start trying this?
 

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So another little update:

My girlfriend was cubing some watermelon (my favorite! :D ) and I decided to try to give Ruth some. I (hopefully not stupidly) picked up her little cardboard hut that she has been hiding in since we got her home and pet her a little, talked to her, and tried feeding her the watermelon. She sniffed it a little bit and then walked back to her hut that I had put back.

I'm worried that she's going to hole up into that hut and become non-social. I don't know how to get her out without physically picking it up.


Help!
 

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well hope that she isnt pregnant. rats sometimes bite and nip when prego. also i would think about getting another rat for her to be come social with. also one more thing about how old is she?? i have been told that the best time to get a rat is when they are 6 to 8 weeks. i had gotten 2 rats before that were definatly older than that and all they did was bite everytime we stuck our hands in. well due to the fact that i have children and these were for them as pets and the children were getting scared of them we decided to find them another home and go find them babies. we found 2 little girls about 6 to 8 weeks and we have had no problem with them at all we havge had out girls for about 1 1/2 years. now i have recently purchased a little boy and he was just a baby when i got him to the point that on the cage it said available 12/15/07 and it was 12/24/07 and i have had no problems at all with him.

i would say try the finger food thing also when i had sugar gliders the way i was told to bond with them was to sleep in an old shirt for a coulpe of days now make sure that you dont care what happens to the shirt and either put it in the cage with the animal or drape it over the cage now you have a fish tank type cage so that wont work, but you can cut it up and make blankies for your baby or just make a big bed out of it. well it is at least worth a try. tell me if it works
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have some of our dirties over the cage so she can get used to our smell. Last night she was very busy and she flipped her food dish over and took her toilet paper roll and tissue into her little cardboard hut. I'm worried that she's depressed or lonely. There is another rat in the house (Sugar). Should we try introducing her to Ruth or no?
 

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I would say... definitely yes! Rats almost always seem to have a better temperament when they have other rat friends to bond with. If you have a big enough cage, I would recommend having them live together.

Rats are very social and needy. They need attention... and having a cage-mate (same sex) really helps in that area. In the meantime, I would just put my hand in the cage and let her sniff you until she becomes more comfortable. Maybe offer her a treat every other time or so, but let her come and take it on her own. She'll learn to trust you eventually.
 

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So as of today we've been taking her out and having her lay in our hands, with gloves on, for 20-30 minutes per sessions (we've done three today). She is very scared of us, often either not moving at all, pooping a lot, or profusely grooming herself.

She is also very very interested in biting us. She bit my girlfriend very hard and made her bleed a lot and she bit me a few times but I had the gloves on. We've been either making an "EEP!" noise when she bites us or saying "No!". Just now after my session with her she got her little tiny foot caught on my sweatshirt and I had to get her off of it. I'm afraid that this made her even more scared!

Getting her back into the cage was also really difficult for me...every time I would try to grab her she would squeek and I was afraid I was hurting her. When I finally did get her back in it wasn't as smooth as I wanted...now anytime my girlfriend or I come into the room she stops what she's doing and stares at us.

Help!

Somebody help please! I am so afraid I'm doing everything wrong and I'm just going to make her more and more scared! Should I bring her downstairs right away to play with Sugar (the other, very very social rat) or continue doing these 20 minute sessions?

help!
 

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put the two cages next to each other for a few days and read up on how to introduce two new rats (dont want them fighting, etc) then go for it. This will make her better im sure. In the mean time just talk calmly to her and try not to handle her too much. It might be too much stimulation for her, rats in pet stores are not used to being handled so let her be for a while and try again.
 

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I would make the sessions a bit shorter until she feels more comfortable (maybe only 5 to 10 min). Another thing to try is to put her under your sweatshirt while wearing it (with a T-Shirt underneath so that she can't bite/scratch you). That way, she'll get used to your smell, and she'll feel safe in a dark, cave-like environment.
 

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What I've had work in the past when a critter is afraid of being picked up is -

First start with putting your hand under her belly etc. like you are going to pick her up, but don't do it. You can do this a bunch of times till shes comfy with your hand under her belly.

Then you lift her up a little but let her feet still touch the ground until shes comfy with these motions.

Then lift her up a inch or few, and put her down shortly.. she will start to realize that if she is picked up it is only temporary discomfort, and not scary or in danger and she will be safer feeling soon.

You can gradually and slowly take longer time before setting her down again and also start lifting her higher, until she is comfy with being picked up and out of her cage.

I've had many critters turn right around.. my bunny, and my rat Kane was jumpy about being picked up.. the girl at the shop grabbed her by the tail!
All 'cuz the girl was afraid of the rats >_<. I did this method with Kane, and now she greets me at her cage bars... most of the time at her food dish, begging for food when she has just finished stashing its contents in a corner!

Also, yes being 'roommates' with Sugar should help.
 
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